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article imageSpanair leaves passengers stranded after going bust

By Amanda Payne     Jan 28, 2012 in Travel
The Spanish airline, Spanair, left thousands of passengers stranded as talks to save the struggling airline broke down on Friday Jan. 27
The first that passengers knew was when the airline's website stopped selling tickets and went offline, then came an announcement that flights would be grounded, affecting more than twenty thousand people. The airline had been in talks with Qatar Airways in an effort to save the business, but Qatar Airlines pulled out of the talks on Friday The airline is the fifth largest in Spain in terms of numbers of passengers, according to El Pais newspaper but has been losing money steadily, finishing 2010 with losses of 115 million euros. The regional government in Catalonia had refused to help out the airline.
A press release from Spanish airports authority, AENA, says that the two largest airports in the country, Barajas in Madrid and El Prat in Barcelona are functioning normally and that Spanair is working to ensure places on other airlines for passengers to continue their onward journeys. Special areas have been set up in both airports where Spanair passengers can wait.
A board meeting was held late on Friday night and then the announcement was made that the company had gone into liquidation. Spanair, based in Catalonia, has 33 planes and a staff of around four thousand people employed either directly or indirectly by the airline. It operates around 200 flights a day both internally in Spain and to several cities in Europe and Africa.The Spanish government has announced that the airline faces a large fine for its "abrupt cessation of activity". The Latin American Herald Tribune reports that Spanair plans to go to court next week to "seek bankruptcy protection."
Spanair has never really recovered from the terrible crash that happened at Madrid Barajas airport in August 2008 in which 153 people died. The flight had been in the process of taking off, heading to the Canary islands, when it crashed back down onto the runway, the left engine burst into flames and the plane skidded off the runway. The plane quickly burst into flames and broke into pieces. Only nineteen people survived the crash.
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